“I am determined to re-organize the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), I am determined to weed out tax evasion. We are already reaping the benefits of our hard work.”
This is what GRA’s Commissioner General, Godfrey Statia had to say about the many tax cases he has won against local businesses which have been using numerous schemes to avoid paying their rightful taxes.
Statia told the Guyana Standard that the entity has raked in billions of dollars from the businesses which had to be taken before the court for the failure to remit and liquidate outstanding Value-Added Tax (VAT), Income Tax, Corporation Tax, Property Tax, and Capital Gains Tax.
Some of the businesses taken to court are: Ashmins Trading Limited; Ashmins Fun Park & Resort Inc.; A & S General Contractors Inc.; Dominion Security Services Inc.; P. Ramroop and Sons; and C.M. Mining Inc.
The tax chief said, “We have been able to get close to $2B from these companies. And we have had cause to institute legal proceedings against other tax payers for failure to file outstanding tax returns such as New Thriving Chinese Restaurant and Giftland… All these things are in the public domain. There were a lot of lax things going on because when we examine how long these people had outstanding payments, you realize that they were allowed to get away with a set of slackness. I am here so that is no more.”
Statia added, “Tax evasion is not something I can root out in three years or for whatever time I intend to here. It is too entrenched in this society, like a way of life. But I want to re-organise the revenue authority with strong enforcement measures in its sails. When I am finished with this place, officers will pursue tax evasion with vigour.”
The Commissioner General said that with the changes to come, GRA will be in a better position to substantially increase its revenues from what the “hard to tax groups.”